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Researchers zero in on cognitive difficulties associated with menopause
Date:1/3/2013

The memory problems that many women experience in their 40s and 50s as they approach and go through menopause are both real and appear to be most acute during the early period of post menopause. That is the conclusion of a study which appears today in the journal Menopause.

"Women going through menopausal transition have long complained of cognitive difficulties such as keeping track of information and struggling with mental tasks that would have otherwise been routine," said Miriam Weber, Ph.D. a neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study. "This study suggests that these problems not only exist but become most evident in women in the first year following their final menstrual period."

The study followed 117 women, who were grouped into categories based on criteria established in 2011 by the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop +10, which consisted of an international consortium of researchers.

Study participants took a variety of tests assessing their cognitive skills, reported on menopause-related symptoms such as hot-flashes, sleep disturbance, depression and anxiety, and gave a sample of blood to determine current levels of estradiol (an indicator of estrogen levels) and follicle stimulating hormone. Results were analyzed to determine if there were group differences in cognitive performance, and if these differences were due to menopausal symptoms.

The study grouped participants into four stages: late reproductive, early and late menopausal transition, and early post menopause. The late reproductive period is defined as when women first begin to notice subtle changes in their menstrual periods, such as changes in flow amount or duration, but still have regular menstrual cycles.

Women in the transitional stage experience greater fluctuation in menstrual cycles from a difference of 7 days or more in the early phase of transition to 60 days or
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Contact: Mark Michaud
mark_michaud@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-4790
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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